Music Cities
Courtesy Photo

"A strong and sustainable music industry is the most cost effective path to build, sustain and enhance vibrant, smart and economically prosperous cities." With that attention-grabbing statement, the organizers of a new Music Cities Convention have announced the confab's first edition in Brighton, UK, to take place on May 13.

"Funding music is generally cheaper than funding film," notes Shain Shapiro, curator of the conference and managing director of Sound Diplomacy, a music market development agency that counts international government agencies and festivals among its clients. "[Festivals and other music events] are more cost-effective than building large music venues or sustaining large opera houses. Not that it should be either, or."

Shapiro initiated the Music Cities Convention with Martin Elbourne, co-founder of The Great Escape. The all-day Music Cities event will take place one day before the popular Brighton festival and its music business convention.

"We need to look above the parapet in the music industry," Shapiro says. "We unintentionally silo ourselves, and we need to think about how we relate to city government, to the quality of life, transportation, infrastructure. If a city has a healthy music industry, it will need an adequate transit system. It will have an impact on bars, restaurants, and tourism."

Presenters at the Music Cities Conference will set out to "showcase solutions and tactics taken in cities to use the music industry -- in all its variants -- to improve city life." TED-style talks will cover topics including music tourism, challenges posed by urban noise laws and other ordinances, branding and culture, economic metrics and music industry development, and the future of live music in the city.

Speakers are to include Becc Bates from the Arts Industry Council of South Australia, David Grice, CEO Musitec Creative Cluster Development; Music Venues Trust CEO Mark Davyd, and Amy Terrill, the vp of Research and Industry Relations for Music Canada.

"I'm being flooded by people who want to present," says a pleased Shapiro. Registration is now open for the convention.